Tuberculosis case at Bell Hill school |

Tuberculosis case at Bell Hill school

Sixty Bell Hill students and some school staff may be tested for tuberculosis after a case was discovered at the Grass Valley school late last week.

Dr. Chuck Johnson, public health officer for the county, who cited patient confidentiality for not identifying the person, said the case was discovered Thursday or Friday.

Johnson said there was an extremely low risk that the TB germ has been spread to others and that anyone who may have the remotest chance of having been exposed to TB germs will have been contacted by the end of today.

The skin test – an injection of a microscopic amount of tuberculin under the skin – will be offered Jan. 21 in cooperation with the school. Dr. Johnson asked that everyone contacted by the school come in for a test, but said the test is voluntary. The results of the test should be available on Jan. 24.

“The disease takes a long, long time to manifest,” Dr. Johnson said. “Initially most people don’t have any symptoms. That’s why we’re doing the skin test.”

Nevada County averages one case of tuberculosis a year.

“If you have not heard by the end of the school day, you are not at risk,” said Jon Byerrum, superintendent of the Grass Valley School District.

Other family members don’t need to be concerned because the disease is not contagious beyond those already exposed, Byerrum said.

A case of meningitis was reported at Bell Hill earlier this year and was confirmed. The boy is back at school, healthy and well, Dr. Johnson said.

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